Adebayo Obajemu

Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, recently disclosed that the World Bank has plans to commit a total of $510billion to boost Nigeria and other African countries’ economy within the next three years.

The minister spoke on behalf of Nigeria and other African countries at the ongoing Development Committee Plenary of the 2020 Virtual Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (WBG/IMF).

In a statement by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning at the weekend, the minister said it was heartening to note the bank’s willingness to commit up to $160 billion within the next 15 months and up to $350 billion by 2023.

According to her, Africa supports the call for the mobilisation of $100 billion for the continent as an emergency response to the pandemic, with $44 billion of the amount earmarked for immediate debt relief.

Addressing the meetings, she noted that African countries, while responding to the challenges of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the severe disruptions in the global economy, have been equally forced to contend with multiple external shocks such as falling commodity prices, decelerating remittance flows, capital outflows, trade disruptions and rapidly rising debt levels.

“It is in this regard that we appreciate the WBG for its timely response with $14billion meant to assist countries to mitigate the initial impact of the pandemic on human population. We also welcome and commend the bank for its strong and forward-looking commitment to support developing countries’ efforts to restart their economies,” she said.

Though some of the African countries are categorised as middle income, Ahmed also noted that they are equally exposed to very severe vulnerabilities and would certainly benefit from financial assistance to weather the storm and to grow.

The continent, therefore, encouraged the WBG to embrace inclusiveness in all its support, including debt relief initiatives, irrespective of classification.

COVID-19: Nigeria may lose over $160 million to cocoa, cashew exports

Adebayo Obajemu

As part of the fallout of the ongoing pandemic and the global lockdowns, Nigeria’s exports will continue to suffer.

Another sector where this lockdown will be felt more is non oil sector which is expected to suffer significant hardship.

Nigeria is projected to lose over $160 million to cocoa and cashew exports in 2020. Agricultural exports like Cocoa, Sesame and Cashew exports are predicted to suffer, due to the pandemic that has lockdown economies of nations across the globe.

In an assessment just released, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council in a report, titled “Impact assessment of and Policy Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic on Agricultural Exports: paints a gloomy picture of exports.

The picture translates that a fall in exports of over $100 million is expected in the cocoa sector due to the declining prices, which can be attributed to the falling demand in Europe. Though Sesame exports are likely to prove more resilient due to a smaller decline in prices and more diversified export markets, Cashew exports are expected to shed $60 million. This is expected owing to the Vietnam Cashew Association’s guidance to enterprises within the country to carefully consider before importing raw cashew.

While other nations had prohibited exports of certain food products, such a move would be practically difficult for Nigeria to make. The reason is simple and that is because the most populous black nation exports Cocoa, cashew and Sesame to cater to foreign demand.
Findings revealed that the exports of the three commodities, in 2018, led to foreign exchange earnings of about $800 million for Nigeria, which means they accounted for over 70% of all agricultural exports. But for the COVID-19 outbreak, the proceeds from the commodities would suffer setbacks by the end of 2020